Dominican Republic Politics

Dominican Republic Politics, Population and Geography

Background: A period of disorderly succession of mostly dictatorial regimes that lasted for most of the 20th century ended in 1996, when a new government came to power in free and open elections. See to know more about Dominican Republic History.


Location: Caribbean region, two thirds of the island of Haiti (Hispaniola), eastern part, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti.
Geographical coordinates: 19° 00′ N. latitude, 70° 40′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 48,730 km2; land surface area: 48,380 km2; water surface area: 350 km2
Comparative area: slightly less than double the size of New Hampshire.
Land borders: total: 275 km; with neighboring states: Haiti 275 km.
Coastline: 1,288 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to the outer limits of the continent; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 6 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical marine; small seasonal temperature variations; seasonal differences in rainfall.
Terrain: hilly plateaus and mountains interspersed with fertile valleys.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Lake Enriquillo -46 m; highest point: Peak Duarte 3,175 m.
Natural resources: nickel, bauxite, gold, silver.
Land use: arable land: 21%; cultivated land: 9%; pastures: 43%; forests and plantations: 12%; others: 15% (1993 est.).
Irrigated lands: 2,300 sq. km. (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: Located in the center of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; floods happen; periodic droughts.
Actual environmental problems: lack of water; the soil is eroded and, falling into the sea, damages coral reefs; deforestation; damage from Hurricane George.
International environmental agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Endangered species, Marine pollution, Marine life conservation, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection, Pollution from ships; signed but not ratified: Law of the Sea.
Note to the section “Geography”: shares the island of Haiti with the Republic of Haiti (two thirds of the island in the east is occupied by the Dominican Republic, one third in the west by the Republic of Haiti).


Population: 8,581,477 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 34.11% (male 1,495,477; female 1,431,406); 15 to 64 years old: 60.99% (male 2,664,679; female 2,569,398); over 65: 4.9% (male 199,240; female 221,277) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.63% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 24.77 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 4.7 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -3.81 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.04 male/female; over 65: 0.9 male/female; for the general population: 1.03 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 34.67 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 73.44 years; men: 71.34 years; women: 75.64 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.97 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 2.8% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 130,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 4,900 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Dominican; adjective: Dominican.
Ethnic groups: white 16%, black 11%, mixed ancestry 73%.
Believers: Catholics 95%.
Language(s): Spanish.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 82.1%; men: 82%; women: 82.2% (1995 est.).


conventional long form: Dominican Republic;
Common short form: no; local long form: Republica Dominicana; local short form: no.
State structure: representative democracy.
Capital: Santo Domingo.
Administrative division: 29 provinces and 1 district *: Azua, Ato Mayor, Baoruco, Barahona, Valverde, Dajabon, Duarte, Independencia. La Altagracia, La Vega, La Romana, Maria Trini dat Sanchez, Monsignor- Noel, Monte Cristi, Monte Plata, National District*, Pedernales, Peravia, Puerto Plata, Salcedo, Samana, San Cristobal, San Pedro de Macoris, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, San Juan, Sanchez Ramirez, Elias Pina, El Seibo, Espaillat.
Dependent Territories:
Independence: from February 27, 1844 (until 1844 – as part of Haiti).
National holiday: Independence Day, February 27 (1844).
Constitution: adopted November 28, 1966.
Legal system: based on the French civil code.
Suffrage: from the age of 18, universal and compulsory; married – regardless of age; note: members of the army and police do not have the right to vote.
chief of state: President Rafael Hipólito MELA Dominguez (since 16 August 2000); Vice President Milagros ORTIZ-BOSCH (since August 16, 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: President Rafael Hipólito MEJIA Dominguez (since August 16, 2000); Vice President Milagros ORTIS-BOSH (since August 16, 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: cabinet appointed by the president; elections: president and vice-president are elected on the same list by universal suffrage for 4 years; elections last held 16 May 2000 (next to be held in May 2004); election results: Rafael Hipólito MEJIA Dominguez elected president; Percentage of votes won: Rafael Hipólito MELA Dominguez (PRD) 49.87%, Danilo MEDINA (PLD) 24.95%, Joaquin BALA-GUER (PRSC) 24.6%.
Legislature: the bicameral National Congress consists of the Senate (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote for 4 years) and the Chamber of Deputies (149 seats; members are elected by popular vote for 4 years); elections: Senate – last held 16 May 1998 (next to be held May 2002); Chamber of Deputies – last elections held 16 May 1998 (next to be held May 2002); election results: Senate, distribution of votes between parties: NA; distribution of seats among parties: PRD 24, PLD 3, PRSC 3; Chamber of Deputies, distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among parties: PRD 83, PLD 49, PRSC 17.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges are elected by a Council composed of representatives of the legislative and executive branches with the president as chairman.
Political parties and leaders: Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) (Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna); Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) (Hatuey DE CAMPS); Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC^ (Xo-akin BALAGUER Ricardo).
Political influence groups and their leaders: Collective of People’s Organizations (COP).
Participation in international organizations: ACP, Caricom (observer), ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
.Head of Mission: Ambassador Roberto Bienvenido SALADIN Selin; office: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone: [1] (202) 332-6280; fax: [1] (202) 265-8057; consulates general: Boston, Chicago, Maya Guez (Puerto Rico), Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico); Consulates: Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Mobile, Ponce (Puerto Rico).
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Charles MANATT; embassy: corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson / Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo; mailing address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500; phone: [1] (809) 221-2171; fax: [1] (809) 686-7437.
Flag Description: a white cross located in the center, reaching the sides of the flag, divides the panel into 4 rectangles: blue ones on the top left and bottom right, red ones on the top right and bottom left; in the center of the cross is a small coat of arms.

Dominican Republic Politics